Modesty 'Cap: Pure Clan Primed For Big Effort
Lewis Lakin’s Pure Clan, fully recovered from a minor injury suffered earlier this season, seems primed to begin her run towards the top of the older female turf division and the climb will start July 11 in the $200,000 Modesty Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Arlington Park, where she will carry top weight of 122 pounds.
A winner of four graded stakes, including the American Oaks (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park last season, Pure Clan got off to a rocky start this year when she suffered a bone bruise during training. The injury cost her a run in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIT) on Kentucky Derby day, but the daughter of Pure Prize returned with a strong runner-up finish in the June 6 Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (gr. IIIT), missing by a nose to Acoma. That effort should set her up well for the 1 3/16-mile Modesty, where the likely favorite will face six rivals.
The Modesty is one of four major stakes that comprise the Arlington’s Million Preview Day program that also includes the $300,000 American Derby (gr. IIT) and $200,000 Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT). The Modesty serves as the final local prep for the $750,000 Beverly D. (gr. IT) Aug. 8. Post time is set for 2:07 p.m. CDT.
Trained by Bob Holthus, Pure Clan was undefeated in four starts as a juvenile. She then placed in three consecutive graded stakes to begin her sophomore season—including a third-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I)—before being switched to turf. The chestnut filly ended her 2008 year with a disappointing 10th place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita, a race she hopes to get back to this year.
An earner of more than $1 million already, Pure Clan was bred in Kentucky by her owner and is out of the General Assembly mare Gather The Clan. Julien Leparoux has the mount.
Among Pure Clan’s top challengers is Dynaforce, who won the grade I Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont last fall just before finishing seventh in the Breeder’s Cup Filly & Mare Turf. The Bill Mott trainee was fifth in the May 16 Gallorette Handicap (gr. IIIT) on Preakness day in her 6-year-old debut. She turned in a bullet work July 5 at Belmont in preparation for the Modesty. Robby Albarado will be in the irons.
Also in the mix is Tizaqueena, who finished third in the Mint Julep, nearly five lengths behind Pure Clan. The speedy 4-year-old Tiznow filly had won four in a row entering that race, including the Distaff Turf Mile that Pure Clan missed.
In the Arlington Handicap, titleholder Stream Cat and two-time event winner Cosmonaut are among 13 older horses entered in the 10-furlong turf contest, which serves as the final local prep for the Arlington Million (gr. IT) on Aug. 8.
Stream Cat, a 6-year-old gelded son of Black Minnaloushe, split horses in the stretch in last year’s Arlington Handicap and drew off by 3 3/4 lengths over Cosmonaut. He followed that score with a sixth-place run in the Arlington Million four weeks later.
Stream Cat, now conditioned by Patrick Biancone, comes in off a fourth-place run on Hollywood’s Gallant Man Handicap after previously capturing the Tokyo City Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Santa Anita in March. Florent Geroux will ride.
Cosmonaut, who won the 2006 and 2007 renewals of the Arlington Handicap, was given a break after last year’s race and returned to action with a 1 1/2-length score in the Fort Marcy Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park in May before finishing fifth in the Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) last month. The Carlos Martin-trained son of Lemon Drop Kid will be ridden by Robby Albarado.
Highweighted at 118 pounds is Augustin Stable’s Just as Well, trained by Jonathan Sheppard. The 6-year-old son of A.P. Indy comes in off a runner-up finish in the Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT) at Pimlico on Preakness day. Though winless this year, Just as Well has been competitive in grade I races with a second-place run in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap in February and a third in the Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland two months later. Just as Well will be ridden by Arlington’s leading jockey E. T. Baird.
$200,000 Modesty Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 5, 2:07 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 3/16 Miles (Turf)
$200,000 Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 12, 5:40 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/4 Miles (Turf)
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